Shoreline Naturalization


Healthy shorelines are vital to maintaining the overall health of Otty Lake.  Shorelines help filter pollutants, protect against erosion, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife.




Common Signs of a Healthy Shoreline

  • Lots of native vegetation

  • Different levels of vegetation from taller trees to smaller shrubs and plants

  • Dead snags (underwater tree stumps or branches) and stones

  • Birds, fish and other wildlife

Common Signs of an Unhealthy Shoreline

  • Area(s) cleared of all or most vegetation

  • Lawn that extends right to the water’s edge

  • Natural shoreline replaced by a hardened structure

  • Problems such as shoreline erosion and poor water quality

  • Prominent algae blooms and excessive weed growth

Shoreline Buffers

A buffer is a permanent strip of vegetation along the shore that protects the water body from human impacts or natural processes.  Otty Lake shoreline property owners can help keep our lake healthy by planting and maintaining  a healthy shoreline buffer.  Native shrubs and trees are adapted to local conditions, require no maintenance, and provide food and shelter for wildlife. For more, please see “The Importance of Vegetated Shoreline Buffers” by Murray Hunt.

Derek Smith explains further why shoreline buffers are important to Otty Lake in particular in “The importance of vegetated shoreline buffer zones around Otty Lake”.


Lake Protection Workbook

The “Lake Protection Workbook: A Self-Assessment Tool for Shoreline Property Owners” was released in 2019. It is designed for you to self-assess whether activities and uses on your property are protecting Otty Lake. Your property is important to the overall health of our lake – every action matters. The OLA purchased some printed copies of this workbook also. Contact [email protected] or your Area Counsellor if you would like one. Download workbook from Watersheds Canada.

Otty Lake Shoreline Assessment Report 

The condition of the Otty Lake shoreline directly impacts on the health of Otty Lake. The Otty Lake Shoreline Assessment Summary Report, completed in the spring of 2015, is a new resource that provides baseline data that will help in the planning of future Otty Lake shoreline stewardship activities.  The Report is a lake-wide summary of the information gathered through the 2013 Love Your Lake surveying of 474 Otty Lake shoreline properties  (totaling 93.3 % of the Otty Lake shoreline). See the report.

Shoreline Handbook

In 2010,  the OLA distributed 525 copies of the “Otty Lake Shoreline Handbook” to property owners around the lake.  In this binder is practical information and references on healthy shorelines, wells, septic systems, wildlife and more.   A number of updates have been provided to the handbook via the summer information packages. 
An electronic version is available here.

Shoreline Planting Program

The OLA has offered shoreline plants to OLA members at a subsidized cost most years since 2009. These could be shrubs, wildflowers or both.

Plant requests are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

The trees and shrubs offered in 2021 sold out quickly, as this has been a very popular program. Thanks to the RVCA for making this possible.

See a summary of the shoreline planting program 2019 -2023.

Love Your Lake Property Surveys

The Love Your Lake Property Surveys done in summer 2013 and distributed in the spring of 2014  offer property specific recommendations on how to maintain your shoreline.

Love Your Lake

Explore the Love Your Lake website for more on why to naturalize and information on a wide variety of shoreline topics: permits, plants to choose, wildlife, invasive species, retaining walls etc. Some years there is funding available for individual property owners or for lake associations to undertake projects, for example through the 2021 Microgrant program.

Here are two examples from a 2014 Love your Lake program that offered free shoreline naturalizations to a number of properties.  Seven property owners were selected  to take advantage of the consultation, planting plan, plants and planting assistance available through the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds.

Naturalization on a developed property.
Reducing erosion into a wetland.

Share your Observations with iNaturalist

Help create an ongoing catalog of the plant and animal life in this area, by tracking the species that make their home in and around Otty Lake. 

See Otty Lake on iNaturalist 

Unauthorized Filling on Shoreline

Those who violate shoreline regulations can be fined, as this person on Christie Lake discovered.

May 2015 Ottawa Citizen Story 

Let Fallen Logs Lie

Fallen logs near the shoreline are important to wildlife and should be left alone.

Read Ottawa Citizen Story

Summer is Tick Season

Information on Lyme disease from the Government of Ontario.

Complete information 

Otty Lake Shoreline Handbook

The Otty Lake Shoreline Handbook –provides practical, environmentally friendly resource information on topics such as erosion, shoreline buffers, water sources, septic systems, docks, lawns, shoreline access and more. Updated April 2017.

The Handbook